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I frequently need to download files and assets from a browser, like Chrome. And I need to put those files into designated file folders. It's part of my job.

Finder does not have the address bar like File Explorer does. I therefore have to spend a lot of time trying to find the target folder when downloading.

How can I jump to a specific file folder easily and efficiently when downloading something using a browser on a Mac?

The file folders are designed following company rules and have multiple layers of subfolders. The files saved in these folders will then be migrated to another online server so I have to create these file folders locally but then delete them after the migration. So adding bookmarks to these folders or adding the folders to the left side column is not quite ideal.

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6 Answers 6

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Native way…

  • Open your desired folder in Finder

  • Don't use fullscreen in your browser, use a windowed view

  • Download As… rather than just Download

  • When the file-picker dialog appears, switch to Finder

  • Drag the prepared window by the icon in its title bar to the file-picker

  • This has now set your location in the browser's file-picker. Save.


Quicker way, not free.

  • Install Default Folder X

  • Open your desired folder in Finder

  • From the browser, again Download As…

  • When the file-picker appears, hover your cursor over where the folder is on the Desktop.
    Default Folder can 'see through' any open apps [even if they're not on the same Space, though you need to set this pref, it is not on by default]

  • Click into the desired folder location.

  • This will switch the file-picker to that location, as before.

Screenshot of 'through to Desktop' view - intentionally too small to read
enter image description here


Alternative two - Default Folder can save sets of frequently-used folders, per application. You can then access these locations by key-command.

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  • 2
    Apple is really forcing people to use their trackpad and the "drag and drop" behavior... But the "native way" is really the, for me at least, easiest and most efficient way. Thanks!
    – Enzo Luo
    May 31, 2022 at 9:14
  • It's been this way since long before the trackpad [which btw I still don't own], but yes, macOS always has been very gui/drag & drop driven. You can key-command many things [as the other answer shows] but not always.
    – Tetsujin
    May 31, 2022 at 9:16
  • Despite the answer I gave, I personally just save/download things to the Desktop and then drag them from there to the desired folder afterwards.
    – Jivan Pal
    May 31, 2022 at 10:20
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In Finder:

  • You can paste a path to go to via [Go] > [Go to Folder...] (⇧⌘G).
  • You can show the path at the bottom of the window with [View] > [Show/Hide Path Bar] (toggle with ⌥⌘P).
  • You can copy the absolute path of an item to the clipboard by right-clicking the item in the path bar and clicking [Copy "<item>" as Pathname].

In Chrome, when the save file dialog is open:

  • You can paste a path to go to by pressing ⇧⌘G, as in Finder.
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  • +1 for ⇧⌘G in Chrome. Just put the file in the right folder in the first place, rather than moving it after downloading. OP would need to do a "Download As..." or something, though.
    – aswine
    May 31, 2022 at 14:05
  • @aswine Chrome has an "Ask where to save each file before downloading" toggle in the settings.
    – Jivan Pal
    Jun 1, 2022 at 12:07
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If there are a small number of folders that you frequently have to download to, you can drag them to the Favorites sidebar of a Finder window. They will then show up in the Favorites list in the Save As dialogs as well. When you're downloading something, click on the folder in the sidebar to save there.

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  • From OP: "adding bookmarks to these folders or adding the folders to the left side column is not quite ideal."
    – Jivan Pal
    May 31, 2022 at 10:16
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You mentioned that you didn't want to clutter up your Favorites sidebar with this stuff, but you can make it a bit more compact by using a container folder. Create a folder somewhere (anywhere) (let's call it "Shortcuts"), and add shortcuts to the targets folders to this folder. So you have this file structure:

/complicated/path/.../dir1
/complicated/path/.../dir2
/complicated/path/.../dir3

And then you have shortcuts to these folders like this:

~/Documents/Shortcuts/dir1
~/Documents/Shortcuts/dir2
~/Documents/Shortcuts/dir3

Then add ~/Documents/Shortcuts to the favorites sidebar in the Finder. Now you can easily replace the shortcuts with the directories you need to put stuff in, and only take up one slot in the sidebar.

If you open a shortcut to a folder in the Finder (including the native save/open windows), it will navigate to that actual folder. If you're saving a bunch of files like you describe, this could potentially speed things up.

For each new set of folders to save stuff in, simply replace the shortcuts in the Shortcuts directory.

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  • If your folders have unique names, the "Save as..." file selector dialog has "Search" field (top left or ⌘F). Just type the name of the folder, then select the folder.

  • You can also drag and drop any folder from Finder to the file selector dialog. So you could have a Finder window in "List" view with all folders open except those which contain files, and drag and drop the target folder to the file sector dialog.

  • You can use tags (with associated colours) on your folders, and then find them by clicking on the tag selector at the bottom of the left column (the sidebar) of the file selector dialog.

    Remember you can "close" the other sections of that left column, and even reorder them, to have the tags on top for instance.

    Also remember that you can create more tags.

There are probably a dozen other ways of doing it, though the best method will depend a lot on the folder structure, how many folders you save to, how many folders there are in total, the naming conventions, etc.

Of course the best method could be to automate the whole process with a script using curl or wget or one of the many similar tools (but that in turns depends a lot on the website(s) you download from).

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If the files have a certain pattern and you can learn a solid grasp of Regex, then the Regex Download Organizer Chrome extension may be a good fit for your use case. The limitation of Chrome for security reasons is that all downloads have to be within the Downloads folder. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/regexp-download-organizer/oamembonjndgangicfphlckkdmagpjlg

You create unlimited rules and filter by file type, URL you're downloading from, and file name. Then you can define what subfolder you want to put it in your downloads folder. So perhaps you can recreate your folder structure in your Downloads folder with these rules, and then copy/paste to transfer to the right spot.

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